Canonist Ed Peters on The Maltese Fiasco

Distinguished canonist Ed Peters, at his indispensable blog In The Light Of The Law, has posted in the wake of what we must now call…

The Maltese Fiasco

The Bishops of Malta issued a dreadful set of guidelines for the implementation of the objectively ambiguous bits of Amoris laetitia, Ch. 8.  These are the bits that the Four Cardinals (Brandmüller, Burke, Caffarra, Meisner) – and the rest of the rational, honest world – want clarified.  The Four Cardinals submitted five formal questions or Dubia to the Holy Father and to the CDF.    Since its release, Amoris laetitia has caused confusion, anxiety, division and conflicting practices throughout the Church.  The diverging practices – if prolonged – have the potential of doing long-lasting damage to the unity of the Church and to souls.

The Maltese Bishops, with their Maltese Fiasco, have essentially said that anyone can go to Communion if they want to according to their conscience, but they don’t seem to think that their conscience must be in conformity with the Deposit of Faith perennial safeguarded by the Church.   Moreover, this wasn’t the Fiasco for tiny Malta, alone.  The Maltese Fiasco was published also in the Vatican’s increasingly disappointing newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Prof. Peters does not have a combox open.  The combox here is open, but moderation is ON.

Let’s have a look, with my patented emphases and comments:

The Maltese directive makes answering the ‘dubia’ urgent

When highly placed Italian prelates declare that “only a blind man cannot see[Card. Caffarra, one of the Four – my trans. HERE] that confusion is the ecclesiastical order of the day, and that such confusion has as its fundamental source Pope Francis’Amoris laetitia, matters have reached crisis level. Catholics who have not followed the intense three-year debate over (among other things) admitting to holy Communion divorced-and-remarried Catholics who are living as married persons should stop reading this post and go get caught up on current events. But for those sufficiently aware of the doctrinal and disciplinary issues at stake I offer some observations in the wake of this weekend’s developments.  [This is not just about Communion for the divorced and remarried.  It’s about the very possibility of intrinsically evil acts, about Christology, about the Eucharist, about Ecclesiology.]

The bishops of Malta, by declaring that divorced-and-remarried Catholics who are living as if they were married “cannot be precluded from participating in … the Eucharist” have done grave violence to the unbroken and unanimous ecclesiastical tradition barring such Catholics from reception of holy Communion without—and let me stress this, without—doing violence to the actual text of Francis’Amoris laetitia. That, folks, is the central problem.  [“cannot be precluded”… That puts priests is a dreadful position!  That endangers souls.]

Amoris does not—again, let me repeat, does not [Peters’ emphasis that time!]—declare ministers of holy Communion bound to give the sacrament to divorced-and-remarried Catholics living as if married. Francis’ phrasing in several key passages of Amoris is (I have argued) malleable enough to allow bishops such as Chaput and Sample to reiterate the traditional Eucharistic discipline or, as the Buenos Aires bishops did, simply to pass ambiguous criteria down to local pastors to sort as best they can. But precisely because key passages of Amoris are also flexible enough to allow bishops to do as the Maltese have done and require Church ministers to distribute the Eucharist to Catholics who engage in “public and permanent adultery” (CCC 2384)—not to mention conferring absolution on penitents who express no purpose of amendment in regard to such conduct—this, without doing violence to the actual text of Amoris,[NB] one cannot but agree with Cdl. Caffarra and others that this hitherto unimaginable sacramental disunity is rooted directly in Amoris laetitia.  [Did you get that?  People without any intention of amending their lives are already demanding absolution from priests: “Pope Francis says…!”]

This ability of Amorissimultaneously to sustain orthodox, non-committal, and heterodox interpretations in matters of the gravest ecclesiastical import is exactly why the Four Cardinal’s dubia so urgently need answering—if not by Francis himself (and no one can force Francis’ hand) then at least by Francis’ right-hand man in matters of faith and morals, Cdl Muller of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to whom the dubia was also (few seem to have noticed) addressed.

Of course, the stakes involved in the dubia jumped dramatically over the weekend, not simply by the Maltese bishops making plain what sort of sacramental abuses Amoris could tolerate within its terms, but by the decision, taken at who-knows-what level, to publish the Maltese document in L’Ossevatore Romano, that “instrument for spreading the teachings of the successor of Peter.” Obviously the pope is not the editor of L’OR and it is possible that the decision to publish the Maltese document took Francis unawares. [True enough… the editor, Vian, might have gone ahead without checking upstairs.  But does that seem plausible to you?] But insofar as L’OR is unquestionably the pope’s newspaper people will be watching to see whether, directly or indirectly, there appears some ‘distancing’ between Francis and the Maltese approach to sacraments for divorced-and-remarried Catholics.

I pray there does appear such papal distancing; [Do I hear and “Amen!”?] I pray that the Maltese bishops repent of their failure to “exercise vigilance so that abuses do not creep into ecclesiastical discipline especially regarding …the celebration of the sacraments” (Canon 392 § 2); [“Amen!”?] and I pray that the teachings of Christ and his Church penetrate our mind and hearts more deeply. [I say again, “Amen!”?]

The Maltese Fiasco.

I fear that this is not the end, dear readers.

Please, God, let me be wrong.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Canon Law, Francis, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. LDP says:

    I read somewhere the other day – I can’t remember where now – that one of the Maltese bishops who signed the directive was formerly a doctoral student under Cardinal Burke. How sad.

  2. jlong says:


    “the world woke up to find itself Arian.” I was hoping that at 80 the Holy Father would abdicate, but sadly that is not the case. The next time we have a Conservative Pope, I hope he is just as fierce in implementing a Defense of the Faith as the current Pope has had in distorting centuries of Teaching.

  3. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I keep trying to find sanity in all of this chaos.

    My secret hope is that, as it is a time for wolves, that the wolves are taking off their sheep’s clothing and letting themselves be known by name to the world. These perfidious bishops, priests, Cardinals, etc, are signing their name to what heterodoxy they believe.

    Perhaps by some miracle (I do believe they happen), our next pontiff will be a conservative reformer and all these emboldened heretic clerics, these men without chests, these enemies…will have outed themselves for who they truly are during Francis’ pontificate. Being known as wolves by a possible conservative reformer pontiff, they can then be targeted for conversion, or if reticent to repent then they can be sacked.

  4. TimG says:

    When something like the Lalta statement comes out, I check Fr Spadaros twitter to see if he is onboard. In this case he is, retweeting the Malta link. Also retweeted that the dissenters are getting too much attention. We are definitely in a battle. Praying for priests and religious!

  5. TimG says:

    Apologies. Malta not Lalta :)

  6. Ralph says:

    Dr. Peters,

    I’m not sure crisis is even a strong enough word. When we of the laity are at the point that we can’t trust the Holy See to teach the historic Orthodox faith – how much worse can it get? At this point, what does it mean to be Catholic? It appears that to be in union with Rome is no longer to be in union with the faith of the Apostles and Doctors of the Church. I shudder for my children’s future!

  7. Tom A. says:

    Please no more reformers!!! And no conservatives either. We need traditional restorers.

  8. St Donatus says:

    It seems that many leaders in the Church have taken on the worldly attitude that new is better, the new car is more reliable than older cars, the newest medicines are saving more lives, new computers are faster and more powerful than old ones, thus new beliefs are more enlightened than old ones.

    God is old, infinitly old, are we to believe we need a new one? They are doing just that, going directly against the words of Jesus Christ. New teaching not taught in two thousand years of the Church.

    Yet, We must obey Jesus Christ and his Church, but as God exists in eternity, unchanging, likewise the Church stands unchanging. As the old testament is a testament to Gods people throughout history, we see how evil kings took power and turned the people against God, yet they were still Gods people and with time God would deliver them from these evil kings through the faithful prophets and people. Likewise, we must stand fast with God, his teachings, his Church, and his prophets like Cardinals Burke and Caffarra. One day God will deliver us from the rule of the evil kings who turn his people away from him, but we must remain faithful.

    Thank God we now have an island within the Church to remain faithful, unlike those of 50 years ago that had no choice but New Church or SSPX.

  9. Dundonianski says:

    This bombshell was dropped in place of father’s homily today in far off Edinburgh, he urged us aIl to redouble our prayers in this crisis and I recall commenting on this blog a couple of months ago that I feared things will (sadly) become much worse and here we are. So depressing, but bolstered by such a good priest as spoke to us at holy mass today is a great comfort for the battles ahead. One hopes for a Vatican inspired repudiation of this outrage from Malta, but in truth that hope is forlorn!

  10. Benedict Joseph says:

    Ecclesiastics riding rogue with the faith bespeak a degree of hubris that is unconceivable to an adult graced with common sense, self-awareness. The faith is a rich tapestry – ours to love, live by, conserve, treasure, in order to bring salvation, interior freedom, offered by Jesus Christ. The authority of the bishop is theirs in order to illuminate the faith, not to abridge or augment – our own lights not sufficient to that task.
    Does one tug blindly on a thread of this unspeakable gift without risking an unraveling of apocalyptic proportions?
    In actuality this mindless act and the document that generated it leaves at risk every tenant of the faith. Is there one exception? Certainly the entirety of sacramental theology is upended. With that accomplished is there anything remaining of Christology, ecclesiology? Woof and warp are eradicated by this mindless act should it not meet with a mighty authoritative correction.
    Would these individuals alter a Raphael or edit Dostoevsky?
    Does the Holy Spirit change His mind?
    Have we not learned well the lessons of the past near sixty years that stand plainly before our eyes? If not, why not? Apparently given responsibility are not up to it or simply can’t perceive what is before them. Or have a contrary agenda.
    The indefectible and inviolate Bride of Christ is sustained and nourished by the Holy Eucharist, the medicine of immortality. The placebo of badly reasoned “understanding,” falling far short of reality, is lethal. Kindly notions and rationalizations is not a substitute for faith and reason.

  11. Kerry says:

    Father, or Fathers, can absolution be granted where no purpose of amendment exists? If granted, with no purpose of amendment, does it even ‘take’?

  12. albizzi says:

    Let’s imagine that I am a lay eucharistic minister appointed by the local parish priest to help in giving communion during a sunday mass.
    A person lines up to take the communion whom I am knowing as being divorced and civilly remarried. What should I do? [Theoretical You, a lay person, don’t get to make the call. Period. Theoretical You are merely a helper to the priest, an “extraordinary minister of Communion” not a “minister of the Eucharist”. Moreover, it is likely that your help really isn’t needed.]
    Here is one among many other dilemmas that led me to decline being an eucharistic minister forever. Amoris Laetitia just doubled the burden’s weight our priests have to afford everyday.

  13. JARay says:

    Talk about the smoke of Satan having entered the Church! It is a cloud of smoke and is getting bigger. It is there for all to see and so is its cause.

  14. Absit invidia says:

    The issue of vocations is what I see threatened. Threatened unless some clear, unified, allegiance to the Teachings of our Church takes place. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit weaves with a fine golden thread, because from where I stand, I couldn’t see any single male taken an interest in the clerical life after observing the games modernists are playing nowadays.

  15. Kerry asks: can absolution be granted where no purpose of amendment exists?

    No. In normal circumstances, when there isn’t danger or some other odd condition, in order to absolve a penitent who is sui compos (conscious, able to make a confession, etc.) the priest must be reasonably certain that the penitent 1) has actually confessed a sin, 2) has, in that moment, at least imperfect sorrow for sin (attrition – fear of punishment), and 3) has a firm purpose of amendment at that time. If any of these three conditions are lacking, the priest MUST withhold absolution. Since the Council of Trent the Church has taught that physical essence of the Sacrament of Penance includes acts of the penitent, that is, the confession of sins, the expression of sorrow, desire for amendment and atonement). On the other hand we have also the actions of the priest (the granting of absolution). The actions of the penitent relate to the actions of the priest as the matter of a sacrament does to its form.

    Obviously most priests do not have psychic powers to read minds and few have the gift from God to read souls. We have to listen to what the penitent says and then discern the truth. A confessor will try prudently and carefully to “tease out”, so to speak, any of the necessary elements that are lacking.

    If a person evinces no firm purpose of amendment – that is, she clearly doesn’t intend to avoid sin(s) again – then the priest cannot, must not, give absolution. His absolution would be, in effect, improperly given and would therefore be sacrilegious. He would abuse the Sacrament, to the detriment of the whole Church and his own soul as well as the soul of the poor person on the other side of the grate. He would be, in effect, faking it. How wicked is that?

  16. thomas tucker says:

    Don’t these bishops realize they are undermining their own position and authority? If my ill-formed conscience is all I need to listen to in order to be right with God, then what need do I have for a bishop, or a Pope, or a Church? And if I don’t need those things, then adios to going to Church and supporting it financially. My conscience might tell me I am just fine without all of their silly opinions. Now where does that leave them?

  17. Kathleen10 says:

    We can’t afford to mince words much longer.
    What is not Catholic is being taught as new Catholic practice. It’s out there. It has arrived. No translation problem, no miscommunication, here it is.
    Can we please stop giving this pope the benefit of the doubt? When does that end. Of course he knows about all this and if he didn’t know directly it was going in the paper, what indication is that he would disagree with it? There is none, let’s get real. He’s behind it. If there is anything worse than having to stand back and watch while your faith disintegrates it’s watching your fellow Catholics relentlessly defending the person responsible for it. Basta, enough already.
    To the Four Cardinals, please, speak to him, issue your private correction. He’s likely to dig in. Please don’t wait long to issue the public formal correction. It will get buried by the media.
    Speak plainly, so ordinary Catholics understand! Make it clear. Please don’t speak so gently and softly there is no “bite” to this correction! What does it matter if theologians in 100 years understand you, but today’s Catholics don’t! Souls are in peril, the faith is being dismantled. Hurry! Do not delay, it is very late!
    After that, we are ready. We cannot follow these men. Scripture says “If an angel comes preaching a different gospel…”, we are not to follow him. This church is preaching a different gospel, our duty is clear.
    Lord, please protect your church from these destroyers.

  18. Dirk1973 says:

    I’m getting the horrible impression Francis is doing this on purpose. In my opinion he’s making the first move in his plan to undermine and eventually destroy Church teachings regarding sexuality. Communion for divorced and remarried people will create a domino effect.

  19. Kathleen10 says:

    thomas tucker, I could be wrong, but I bet these bishops would rather take a chance on fewer parishioners or less in the offertory, than they would not getting on board with this pope.

  20. Prayerful says:

    One thing regarding Henry VIII is that he admired this order, the Knights Hospitallers, for their efforts against the infidel, most notably resisting on Rhodes and only departing with honour, and offered to spare the Priory of England if they would but take his side in his dispute with the Pope. The headquarters was a palace in what is now called St John’s Wood. Now how the English Knights could have supported the Order had just a few year earlier gained a new headquarters on Malta after the break with Rome, is hard to understand. Perhaps Henry hoped the break would be temporary, perhaps he hoped to use the English Priory for his own ends. Anyhow, the Knights refused, and so English Priory vanished like all the other monasteries of England (there was a very partial dissolution, covering maybe Dublin with a great Hospitaller house in Kilmainham (a great castle with concentric walls overlooking Dublin now the site of the Royal Hospital), other Dublin monasteries like Thomascourt or Holy Trinity Priory and outside the Pale, Baltinglass Abbey.

  21. L. says:

    What I don’t understand about the whole Communion-for-adulterers project is why the effort to undermine faith and practice is limited to this issue only. Why not pursue other parts of the progressive program? The Pope keeps speaking against the admission of homosexuals to seminaries, for example. Why even mention it? Is it merely “cover” to take the heat off on other issues?

  22. jaykay says:

    Kerry says: “can absolution be granted where no purpose of amendment exists?” Fr. Z. explained what I’d always been educated to understand, that there must be “a firm purpose of amendment” in confession, hence the Act of Contrition I learned 50 years ago before first confession:”… and I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy holy grace… never more to offend Thee and to amend my life. Amen”

    Otherwise, it seems, we’d be treating confession as just some sort of symbol. And Thomas Tucker above touches on this, and I think he’d agree with my saying that we’d then be in Flannery O’Connor territory who memorably said (in relation to the Eucharist, but same principle): “Well, if it’s only a symbol, to hell with it”.

    [Wasn’t it the Jesuit theologian – who influenced a decades of priests and profs with his questionable ideas – who thought that sacraments celebrated pre-existing realities?]

  23. Kerry says:

    Father Z, thank you. Only as it may encourage someone else in a similar position will I share some personal notes. As some here know, I was received into the Church on Gaudete Sunday last. My previous marital situation was… tangled up, and after two years the Tribunal had reached a box canyon they do not like. They were unable to say with certainty to a declaration of nullity, yes or no. “What now? Am I stymied?” The very fine canon lawyer and I talked about the informal path, and its requirements, live as brother and sister and so forth. He told me I would have to also formally request the tribunal end its inquiry, though he could not say, “Do this”. At my formal request to terminate the process, he pulled out two filled out forms which I signed. (He said, “I like to have any forms I think I might need ready to go”. What a guy!)
    My Priest and the lawyer had discussions, I took the confessional out for a spin: “Firm purpose of amendment?”, “Oh yes. ” If any here are in similar messes, persevere. I am now Catholic, to my amazement, and over the moon! “IHS”

  24. donato2 says:

    The Maltese turn of events is a major escalation that almost certainly was orchestrated by Pope Francis. It comes as a bit of a surprise to me. I had thought that Pope Francis would seek to blur the conflict not highlight it. It is in any event obvious that he is pursuing a sort of Saul Alinsky-like strategy of spreading the practice of communion for the divorced and remarried as widely as possible in the hope that in doing so it becomes a de facto “fact on the ground” that enervates any doctrinally-based challenge.

  25. Jason Keener says:

    I think we’ll finally see a formal correction of Pope Francis in the next couple of weeks, and it won’t be soon enough for me. Frankly, I’ve had all I can stand of this pontificate, and I pray with great fervor that Benedict XVI will soon have a certain Argentinian roommate at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery. From this depressing and destructive pontificate, Lord, deliver us.

  26. Joseph-Mary says:

    Tom: Please no more reformers!!! And no conservatives either. We need traditional restorers…..
    The traditional reformers are being persecuted, detracted, exiled, and set aside. Stuff of saints.

  27. Benedict Joseph says:

    Thomas Tucker: You have hit on a rude reality that none of us want to articulate. The current crisis is a roundabout attempt to undermine the papacy and, once done, refigure the office to suit the purpose of the new “church” they confect. Those who respect the papacy are thus demoralized, neutralized. Wielding boldly “evangelical obedience” as a weapon, and subconscious appeals to loyalty to silence orthodox, pious and devout clergy, religious and laity, these operators are having their way. How is one to defend the papacy when it has been debased intentionally – and from within, no less?
    We are dealing with atheism in a cassock.
    And there are by far more than one of them.

  28. arcanum_divinae says:

    Given the history of Malta, I’d say praying for the intercession of St. Paul would be apposite.

  29. ghp95134 says:

    To Prayerful:
    St. John’s Wood was named for the small forest on the land owned by the Order of St. John; Clerkenwell was the HQ for the English Langue of the Knights Hospitallers. After Henry’s destruction of the monasteries the Clerkenwell area survived various uses (including a pub):
    “…(Tip to Fr. Z) In 1703 … Richard [Hogarth] opened a coffee house there, ‘Hogarth’s Coffee House’, offering Latin lessons together with the coffee….

    Today the St. John’s Gate at Clerkenwell is again Headquarters for the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (Order of St. John).
    “…The Gate was acquired in the 1870s by the revived Order of St. John and was gradually converted to serve as headquarters of both the Order and its subsidiary, St. John Ambulance. It now also houses the Museum of the Order….”'s_Gate,_Clerkenwell

  30. Godisgood says:

    Amen, Ralph! I, too, have considered how to be or what it means to be a Catholic in Communion with Rome when the news from Rome is so often disquieting and confusing. Thank God for the Magesterium and thank God for the Cardinals, bishops, and priests bold enough and Catholic enough to reiterate truth in the face of all this confusion.

  31. Godisgood says:

    Amen, Kathleen10! Hold fast to the faith of our fathers, the faith handed down from one generation of Magesterium to another.

  32. rmichaelj says:


    As to why they are pushing this particular novelty the hardest- better men than I believe it is in regards to the German Church tax, and the belief that this will keep more bodies in the pews.

  33. Rob83 says:

    Not that this makes the situation any better, but Malta has only 2 dioceses and neither has an auxiliary, so only two bishops are (officially) behind this: Archbishop Scicluna, appointed in 2015 by Francis (and also the one who studied under Burke), previously the auxiliary of Malta, and Bishop Grech, who can be found in news articles about the Synod as making comments Francis liked.

    If a letter like this was desired on the Roman end, it certainly helps to have only 2 bishops to deal with, knowing one was already favorably inclined and with the other post having just become vacant on the eve of the first of the two Synods due to an early resignation.

  34. Gabriel Syme says:

    Tom A,

    Please no more reformers!!! And no conservatives either. We need traditional restorers.

    Bingo! That is absolutely correct.

    Given the depths the Church has sunk to now, we can see that “conservatism” since Vatican 2 has amounted to nothing more than tolerating anything under the banner of Catholicism, in return for being allowed to pretend everything is normal.

    Yet now even this comfort blanket of pretence is being stripped away by the “tolerant liberals”, who now openly disparage their conservative new-church brethern, just as both groups would earlier deride traditionalists as “schismatics” etc.

    Hopefully the conservative element in the novus ordo Church is now realising that they have had the wrong people in their sights all this time.

    The Church will always endure, as Our Lord promised, but increasingly I wonder if parts of the Catholic Church which are genuinely worth the name would extend even as far as double digits (in terms of percentage). Certainly, much of the mainstream Church of today is utterly superficial, constantly in flux and protestant in all but name – and its currently going nowhere, save the dustbin of history.

    Trouble is, restoring the true faith could represent an even more violent and tumultuous occasion that destroying it did in previous decades. It will be a long and slow process, for sure. I am reassured by +Schneider’s recent comment that the revival of the true mass is “a work of the Holy Spirit which cannot be stopped”.

    I am convinced I have made the right choice by attending the latin mass exclusively, due to the quality of the homilies I hear there and how well my one-year-old daughter has taken to it – like a duck to water.

  35. frmh says:

    It just keeps getting worse!

    Things must be desperate in Malta, some of the priests and laity are sound over there…. there must be immense confusion following this document, it is a terrible situation. If it came out here, I would have to preach against the directive.

  36. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Fr Z. said:”I pray there does appear such papal distancing; [Do I hear and “Amen!”?] I pray that the Maltese bishops repent of their failure to “exercise vigilance so that abuses do not creep into ecclesiastical discipline especially regarding …the celebration of the sacraments” (Canon 392 § 2); [“Amen!”?]”

    AMEN !

    Since I’ve been watching this, um , thing develop over the last three years – ever since its devious little infancy , I’ve been puzzled over how they think (or don’t think) they are going to be able to somehow magically confine this morally languid approach , to Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics only : Once the precedent has been set , they’ll be able to apply it to other types of sin too – besides adultery . I see at least 3 sacraments presently under attack:
    The Holy Eucharist
    Holy Matrimony
    Sacrament of Confession

    jlong is right. We need to keep praying.

    (PS Thanks for the Henry VIII editorial cartoon Fr. Z – I was in need of that smile).

  37. Rosary Rose says:

    What is a mere layperson to do?
    Pray the rosary daily. Make a five First Saturday devotion.
    Go to confession regularly.
    Pray for wisdom.
    Pray, fast and abstain for our Church and all the priests throughout the world.

    Pray for the consecration of Russia to our Lady as she requested at Fatima. Our Lady of Fatima said, in the end, her Immaculate Heart will triumph. Does this look like a “triumph”? It looks like a Great Apostacy to me.

    Be strong and courageous.

  38. Kostadinov says:

    and the variation for the German church tax payer:
    If, as a result of the process of discernment, undertaken with “humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching, in a sincere search for God’s will and a desire to make a more perfect response to it” (AL 300), a baptized Catholic who sees his church tax spent on anti-Catholic errands and thus quits the legal entity collecting the so-called church tax manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist

  39. Cornelius says:

    God bless Ed Peters for his keen canonical mind and orthodoxy, but he’s engaging in precisely the sort of wishful thinking decried in this thread (and elsewhere) when he suggests that the Pope might distance himself from the Maltese Bishops’position. As IF.

    What does PF have to do to convince people that this is precisely what he wants and has been covertly working for since he was elected? He has said so in a number of fora. There will be no “distancing” from PF. This is what he WANTS. Gird your loins because the battle is about to break open.

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  41. laurel says:

    “… papal distancing…” Amen is the comment. Well, yes – in a way. But is “…distancing…” a sufficient Papal response – I think not. “…distancing…” is more like merely refusing to go to lunch with Lavrentiy Beria Clear, direct and forceful, immediate clarification and/or correction is what’s in order.

  42. Grant M says:

    Some years ago, while still waiting for the Tribunal to reach a decision concerning an earlier marriage, I agreed, under strong pressure from my prospective in-laws, to go through a form of Protestant marriage with my prospective finance. I was far from home in a strange country, I was recovering from a severe fever, I was weak and tired… I know, I know, there are always excuses, which may or may not reduce one’s personal culpability.
    Afterwards I thought better of it, and stopped taking Communion. Still later, I went to confession, with the resolve to live in continence. Following my confession, the priest said “Now you may receive Communion again.”

    Now, with my marriage regularized in the Church, I wonder what I would do if I was in that situation now, post AL. If a priest said to me, knowing my circumstances, “Don’t worry, you can receive”, would I say “Thanks, but I would prefer not to.”? I hope so…But frankly, I glad I got into my irregular situation before AL introduced all this fog. At least, before, I could see where I had gone off the track, and see how to return to the track.

  43. Dave N. says:

    During the Doug Kmiec Ambassador kerfuffle, it sounded as though Malta was some sort of bastion of orthodox Catholicism—where a Democratic sell-out like Kmiec just wouldn’t fit in.

    Now, given these revelations and those of Malta’s rampant Freemasonry, Kmiec sounds like he was the perfect choice. In fact, he was probably “too Catholic” for them.

  44. Supertradmum says:

    I hope people realize that the fall of Maltese Catholicism to this sad level did happen out of a larger context of apostasy, which was occurring for years and years.

    I could make a long list of abuses, not liturgical, but moral, seen in the populace of Maltese Catholics, some of which, however, are truly faithful and scandalized by the two bishops’ statement.

    One of the first thing Catholic Maltese did was vote in a socialist government after independence from Britain, leading to more and more government involvement in the Church, and a softening of consciences among the people. In fact, this present bishop of Malta (not the Gozitan one) said publicly that the Church no longer had any power to deal with government decisions, such as abortion rights and so on….I was in Malta when he said this cowardly thing.

    Years and years of disobedience regarding contraception and the practice of New Age nonsense among even so-called good Catholics has caused this fall, as well as the overwhelming presence of satanism, witchcraft, false religious experiences in the charismatic community, and a general lack of interest in the teaching found in the CCC.

    Such a damning statement as we have seen this week did not come out of nowhere. I myself years ago had to publicly challenge and correct a Jesuit priest who was teaching reiki, a false religious experience. I sent a copy of the Vatican document not only to him but to all the members of the class we were in to clarify New Age thinking—

    No one, including the priest, had even heard of this document much less had read it, and the other people in the group were glad to read it. Some of the offerings at the Jesuit Centers for Spirituality–Manresa House and St. Josephs, have been “cleaned up” but not all.

    The point is that this horrible document comes from years of Modernism and relativism among the Catholic clergy and Catholic lay leaders in Malta.

  45. LarryW2LJ says:

    In a nutshell, this is why clarity is so important – “Give ’em an inch and they’ll take a mile”. AL is turning out to be a Papal inkblot. “Hold it up, look at it and tell me what you see?” There SHOULD be only one answer- but there’s turning out to be many, depending on your “conscience”.

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